During my high school years my aunt thought it would be best if I associated with the people from the other side, the one percent. So on weekends she took me along with her to her house in Roodepoort. In that house I would get the opportunity to shake hands with some of the country’s brightest minds and of course their offspring, along with their servants.

I actually didn’t mind spending afternoons with a bunch of kids from Sandton. I had a good time and fit right in like I was one of them. They all welcomed me with open arms, probably because I spoke their language so well.

After the one percent introduced me to their world, I started talking more like them and having the same opinions as them. And the more time I spent with them, the more I lost touch with things back in Tsakane. I started caring about saving the pandas, even helping to come up with ideas to raise funds. I even participated in executing those ideas. I forgot all about the thousands of black and coloured faces in Tsakane that could use the money that we were giving away to pandas.

Even though I was doing well in school, my behaviour changed and I did as I pleased, nobody could tell me a thing: I knew my rights – the rights I learned about from the one percent. I would come back and trade stories with the kids from Roodepoort and they would laugh. They said they would like to see their mothers or grandmothers try to put their filthy hands on them, they would call their lawyers and sue their parents and grandparents for everything they had.

It was actually after a series of incidents at school that I came to change my ways. And maybe all those ass whoopings I got from my mother for trying to be a smarty pants helped.

One day, after the one percent laughed at my stories once too often, I thought to myself, I couldn’t dare sue my mother or grandmother mamTshabalala: what if they couldn’t come up with the money and got sent to prison. Do you know the hiding I would get for pulling a stunt like that?

I actually felt my behind itch a little, in anticipation.

I told the one percent about what I thought, and their response was that the ghetto was a lost cause. Except to me it wasn’t. Those people were my family, my brothers and my sisters my aunts and uncles.

I was ready to put those people in their place and give them a real piece of my mind. I wasn’t going to let them tell me something like that. But I calmed myself and managed to locate my aunt and tell her what happened. We left immediately and never looked back.


Tell us: What do you think of the realisation that Chris came to?